What Are You Focusing On?

rosesWhat are you focusing on? In today’s world it is easy to get caught up in the negative things that are happening around us. Watch any news channel and you’ll hear a smorgasbord of stories about murder, war, famine, and everything in between. Television shows are often violent, and can leave you sad, anxious, and more worried about the current problems you’re experiencing.

I read an article this morning that features tips about focusing on more positive things. Two of these tips really stood out and I’d like to share those with you.

Reading positive and inspiring books not only teach you something new, but also requires that you sit and focus while you are reading. What a win-win situation!

Waking up early allows you to prepare for your day without feeling rushed. You have extra time to pray, meditate, or read something inspirational. It may be hard to get in the habit of waking up early, but it is well worth it, and as an added bonus you get a head start on the rest of the world.

What are you focusing on? By following these tips, you’ll not only improve your mood, but you’ll also be more energetic and ready to face the day.

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Do’s and Don’ts of Exercise

elderly woman exercisingLadies, remember when you were active in your 20’s and could eat that extra large piece of birthday cake without gaining weight? As you hit the 40’s and 50’s, you may not be as active, your metabolism slows down, and the pounds can add up. Regular exercise can keep your metabolism burning efficiently, but high-impact exercises that involve running, step aerobics, or cardio dancing can result in injuries to the hip, knee, and ankle joints, as well as the spine.

Here are the do’s and don’ts of exercise for midlife women:

Stretch First

You need to get your muscles loosened up, so stretching first is essential. Walk for 5 minutes on a treadmill or do some gentle yoga or Pilate stretches.

Start Slowly

If you haven’t been exercising regularly, the key is to start out slowly. Do things you enjoy such as water aerobics, gardening, walking, cycling or swimming. If you prefer exercising in a group setting, check your local gym for fitness classes. Your goal is to get your heart pumping, but not run out of breath. Once you are in the routine of exercising regularly, you can add weight or resistance training using weight machines or resistance bands.

Warning Signs

You should know your body signs and stop exercising immediately if you experience pain or are having trouble breathing. If you have osteoporosis, avoid balance exercises that might lead to a fall, and toe touches and sit-ups that put too much pressure on the spine.

3 Benefits of a To-Do List

mad-man-very-frustrated-angry-isolated-white-background-34681015I’m always trying to improve my time management skills, and keeping a to-do list seemed a good place to start. I’ll admit that it has not been easy, and some days I just want to be a free-sprit and perform my daily tasks in my own good time. However, there were times I couldn’t get my free-spirited self motivated, and ended up doing mindless tasks such as surfing the net, or watching a favorite TV program.

When you make your to-do list is up to you. Some prefer to write out their to-do list the night before, while others prefer to post their list in the morning. Here are 3 benefits of a to-do list:

Helps Prioritize

You may have many tasks you want to accomplish in a day, but some are more essential than others. Seeing your to-do list written out allows you to prioritize tasks in order of importance and determine what time frame you need to complete your list.

Improves Focus

You can’t always remember everything you want to accomplish, and writing your to-do list improves focus. You have your to-do list in front of you, and know exactly what you need to do.

Tracks Progress

At the end of each day, review your progress and what you accomplished. Did you get the whole list finished, or did you run out of time? What could you have done differently? Make changes as needed until you find out what works best for you.

I am noticing that as I use a to-do list each day, I feel more energetic, more focused and like I am meeting more of my goals. Following these 3 benefits of a to-do list will make a difference in your life as well.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

15940527-businesswoman-drawing-plan-of-winning

The holidays are over and we’ve started a brand new year. What are your goals in 2014? Maybe you want to lose those last ten stubborn pounds, exercise regularly, take a vacation, change careers, or spend more time with your family.

According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton Journal Of Clinical Psychology, 45% of Americans set New Year’s goals, but only 8 % are successful in achieving those goals.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals will give you a clearer vision and focus, and make it easier to track your progress. Here are the keys to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals:

Specific: There will be no doubt that you have reached your goal. Example: My goal is to fly to Italy.

Measurable: Can your goal be measured? Let’s use the example above. Will you meet your goal when your plane lands in Italy, or do you have a more specific destination in mind such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Florence Cathedral?

Achievable: Taking your current circumstances and skill set into consideration, is it possible to reach your goals or will you have to take some classes, get a mentor, relocate, or work extra hours?

Realistic: How realistic is your goal? Do you want to fly to Italy this month, but your bank account is overdrawn? A more realistic goal would be to budget a certain amount each month until you have enough to complete your trip.

Timely: The last key element of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is to add a time limit to your goals. I will fly to Italy by June 30, 2014. If you have not reached your goal by the time limit, you can adjust your goals and plans accordingly.

New Year’s Resolutions

15940527-businesswoman-drawing-plan-of-winningAfter the last piece of pecan pie is inhaled, and the holiday leftovers leave you pinching more than just an inch, it’s time to make some New Year’s resolutions. Throw out the sweets, eat more fish and salads, and no more late night munchies while watching David Letterman.

Like most people, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to eat smaller portions of healthier foods. One of my downfalls is taste testing what I prepare. It’s no fun to bake cookies without licking the bowl, not to mention taste testing a few hot from the oven. Sauces require testing just to make sure you have your ingredients combined correctly.

One more resolution I have is to keep contributing to the household income. You never know when an emergency may arise. One year when the bank account was dry, and we were holding things together with a wing and a prayer until payday, a windy storm rolled in and toppled the back fence.

Of course personal growth and growing my coaching business are also high on my New Year’s resolutions list.

What are your New Year’s resolutions, and how will you reach your goals? As always, please feel free to leave comments.

Benefits of Strength Training for Women

elderly woman exercisingI read a very timely article by the Mayo Clinic that outlines the benefits of strength training. You don’t have to hit the gym for strength training, as exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, leg and abdominal squats can be done in the comfort of your own home. Resistance tubing can be purchased at sporting good stores and provides resistance when stretched.

If you prefer to work out in the gym, you have access to free weights such as barbells and dumbbells, or you can take advantage of the weight machines.

Stressing bones through strength training increases bone density and reduces your risk of osteoporosis. As you build strength your energy will increase, and better muscle tone helps balance in later years when falls are common.

More benefits of strength training for women include reducing pain for chronic conditions such as arthritis and back pain, and improving symptoms of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

As always, practice safety first and check with your doctor before beginning any type of strength training program.

When You Have a Bad Day

mad-man-very-frustrated-angry-isolated-white-background-34681015It doesn’t take much to turn a good day sour. You wake up late, the kids are arguing, your car battery is dead, and you have to do the hundred-yard dash to the bus stop. The day has barely begun, and it seems like everything is going wrong.

Here are 3 tips to get you back on track when you have a bad day:

Deep Breaths

If your nerves are frazzled, you can’t think clearly, and find the solutions that are going to make you feel better. Take a break and go somewhere where you won’t be disturbed. Inhale to the top of your lungs, and let your breath out very slowly. Repeat this 2-3 times and you’ll feel yourself becoming calmer.

Gratitude List

When you have a bad day, you often have to dig deep to remember the things you are thankful for. You have another day of life, a warm house, food to eat, etc. Make a list of your blessings and you’ll find that you start thinking of more things to be thankful for.

Plan Something Enjoyable

Planning something enjoyable can make a big difference when you have a bad day. Unplug the phone and have a cocktail. Get the whole family involved in a lively board game, or schedule a relaxing massage.

By following these 3 tips, you can turn any bad day around.